Local community rallies around passion for cars
Communities are a part of life. People gather all over the world to share interests and hobbies, and in Palm Beach, Florida, one specific group shares their passion for cars.
Cars and Coffee Palm Beach welcomes around 1,000 vehicles and thousands of spectators each month. The event encourages all makes and models to attend, from exotic cars to American classics, and includes something for everyone.
“Everyone has their cliques -- like the type of automotive manufacturer -- they'll be together,” John Zeilinga, the founder of Cars and Coffee, said.
Zeilinga pointed out that new clubs can be intimidating. But, he explained the dynamics of his event are what make Cars and Coffee Palm Beach unique.
“Here, everyone kind of co-mingles. It brings all the cliques together into one,” Zeilinga said.
This South Florida car event attracts friends and families from all over and offers a safe, welcoming environment for everyone. The year-round event continues to attract the niche car community time and time again.
“I’d say probably 90% of the people that come here are repeats. You get the ten-percenters who come in here and they just bring random, weird wild stuff, so you never know what you're going to see,” Zeilinga said.
There is also a large social element within the event, which Zeilinga pointed out.
“I know people that have made friends here. I've known people that have met here and have actually had relationships and gotten married because of coming here, it's kind of cool,” Zeilinga said.
James Petruzella said that he has been coming to the event for years, and following the show as they have moved from their previous location. Petruzella is the driver of a Japanese-imported 1994 Subaru Legacy RS. Petruzella also said that the variety of cars in the show is a part of what makes this event appealing to him.
Jim, the owner of a 2022 Dodge Challenger 392, attended the event for his first time.
“I really like it,” Jim said. “The turnout is unbelievable. It's one of the biggest shows.”
The event seemed to have a positive effect on attendees. In many special interest clubs, it can be difficult to join as a newcomer, but not in this case. Access to the community was readily available to anyone who hoped to get involved. The open attitude of eventgoers made it easy to feel comfortable as a first-time attendee. Young enthusiasts conversed with veteran car enthusiasts, and the discussions were always accepted and welcomed by both parties. It was not uncommon to see an owner of a car that you would be afraid to touch let a young enthusiast sit in the driver’s seat.
At Cars and Coffee Palm Beach, the people and their cars are a representation of how individuality and self-expression are at the core of the event. All sorts of unique automobiles are represented, and their drivers take pride in their vehicles and their stories. This makes each car more than just a way to get around, and the stories that each vehicle has inspired demonstrate a true sense.
By Cooper Ray